GROTON, Conn. (NNS) -- On the eve of Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) Mississippi's (SSN 782) christening, the submarine achieved another milestone, a 2011 Navy Community Service/Project Good Neighbor community service award, Dec. 1.
"I'm so proud of the crew of PCU Mississippi for this important achievement," said Capt. John McGrath, commanding officer of PCU Mississippi. "In addition to their shipboard duties, our dedicated volunteers donated over 90 hours of cumulative community service per month since 2010."
Mississippi, the ninth Virginia class submarine, won the service community award in the sea command, small category. The medium and large sea commands that received the 2011 Navy Community Service/Project Good Neighbor community service award were Fleet Logistics Support Squadron 57 and USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19).
According to the NAVADMIN 364/11, the Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert praised the commands for their volunteer efforts.
"My sincere thanks to all for your continued support of the Navy's community service program. Please accept my personal Bravo Zulu and thanks to the caring and dedicated Sailors, civilians, and families who selflessly volunteered and contributed in improving the quality of life within your communities."
Since mid-2010, Sailors aboard PCU Mississippi have assisted with countless projects from cooking for veterans in the local area; educating students about the military at John B. Stanton Elementary School; conducting repairs at the New London Homeless Hospitality Center to packing boxes for deployed Connecticut service members.
The submarine's volunteer coordinator, Machinist's Mate First Class James Pearson, was responsible for organizing and spearheading countless volunteer activities for the past several years. In September, he was selected as service person of the month for his remarkable achievements.
"PCU Mississippi is extremely proud of Petty Officer Pearson for his hard work, dedication, and volunteer spirit, as well as the many other shipmates who assisted him," said McGrath.
The commanding officer said as a result of his efforts and that of the crew the command enjoys a strong and vibrant relationship with the citizens, government, and civic organizations of New London County.
Pearson said their volunteer program was created to emphasize their interest in Connecticut, and their desire to offer assistance wherever necessary. The program has impacted more than 10,000 people.
Virginia-class submarines are designed to dominate the world's littoral and deep waters, while conducting anti-submarine; anti-surface ship; strike; special operation forces; intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance; irregular warfare; and mine warfare missions. Their inherent stealth, endurance, firepower, and sensor suite directly enable them to support five of the six Maritime Strategy core capabilities - sea control, power projection, forward presence, maritime Security, and deterrence.
For more news from Commander Submarine Group 2, visit www.navy.mil/local/Subgru2/.